Much Prayer, Much Power!

December 1, 2009

Many of you know that I have accepted the position of Senior Pastor of Tunkhannock Baptist Church in Tunkhannock, PA. We have applied for our work visa but it seems the US government is not easily granting religious worker visas any longer. It could take upward of a year or maybe never.

We feel it absolutely necessary to join our flock soon rather than later. Complicating this is my wife is due with our first child in January and has been in the US since October while I have remained in Canada. We wish to be reunited together in PA and begin serving our church.

We have been advised by an immigration lawyer I should enter the country and apply for my permanent residency (since my wife is a US citizen). This can take a minimum of four months if all goes well. During that time I will be unable to earn a salary from the church or any other job. With my wife just going to be giving birth she will be unable to support us in any kind of meaningful work. So, while we feel it is good for our church and our family to reunite in PA, we have no way to earn an income and pay our bills. We are diligently seeking any ways for me to earn money to support ourselves but are struggling to find out how. While we do not have major bills, we do have bills that cost us money and without an income we are unable to pay these.

We are trusting in God to provide an answer to our dilemma and are now asking you all to pray with us that God would resolve this situation quickly and easily. If you have any advice for us as well in this situation we would greatly appreciate it.

Thank you so much for your prayers in the past and we continue to covet them now.


Please Pray

March 28, 2009

Some of you know I recently lost my position at the Slavic Gospel Association. I simply ask you all to pray for me and my wife as we search for new work. We are in very initial talks with two churches right now but those could take awhile. We are simply looking for any work right now to pay the bills until God directs us somewhere else. Please covenant to pray for us during this transition in our lives.

Also, if you know of anyone hiring in the Kitchener-Waterloo-Guelph area or the Brantford-Burlington-Hamilton area please let me know! Thank you so much to you all!


December Issue – To Russia With Love – SGA Newsletter

December 4, 2008

Please find the below PDF of my monthly Slavic Gospel Association newsletter, To Russia with Love. Please read, be encouraged, challenged, and pray!

To Russia with Love – December Newsletter of Allen Mickle and SGA


Pray and Partner with Me for the Ministry!

November 11, 2008

My role at Slavic Gospel Association is to share the wonderful stories of brothers and sisters in the CIS with churches in Canada. I help work in the area of training and equipping ministries as well. The reality is, that while I receive a salary from SGA, the cost of doing minstry is very high. In order to maximize the money that comes into SGA to support church planters and theological education in the former Soviet Union, I am hoping people will commit to partnering with me in personal support to offset those ministry expenses.

Any funds directed to my personal support are tax deductible and go directly to SGA and not to me personally.

You will be partnering with me in my ministry to the slavic speaking people of the former Soviet Union.

How can you help?

You can donate online here using your credit card. In the “Comments/Special Instructions” section, please make note that your gift is going to the personal ministry support of Allen Mickle. If you would prefer to not send in your gift online you can direct donations to to the Canadian office at

Slavic Gospel Association
55 Fleming Drive, Suite #26
Cambridge, ON N1T 2A9

If you live in the United States and would like to donate to offset my ministry expenses please send your donation to:

Slavic Gospel Association
6151 Commonwealth Drive
Loves Park, IL 61111

Please make sure to include a note stating the donation is for the personal support of Allen Mickle in the Canadian office. If you prefer to do this online you can do so here. Again, in the “Comments/Special Instructions” section please note that this is personal support for Allen Mickle in the Canadian office. As well, please let me know if you will be doing this so I can let our US office know. Contact me at allenm [at] sga [dot] org.

Thank you so much for your prayer and partnership in my ministry to support our brothers and sisters across the former Soviet Union!


The Rebirth of the Pastor-Theologian

April 15, 2008

In ages past, the pastor of a congregation could be seen to be the most educated and knowledge person in a community. People would come to him for advice on a number of issues from basic questions of the faith, child rearing, business issues and other things. The pastor was not just someone who met felt needs but was someone who communicated the awesome truth of the Word of God. While he did not have all the answers, he was knowledgable in the Word and in the systematic understanding of that Word. In my particular context I think of Particular Baptist pastor-theologians like Andrew Fuller, John Gill, Abraham Booth, Hercules Collins, William Kiffin, Benjamin Keach, Hanserd Knollys, and C. H. Spurgeon.

Then something terrible happened. People decided it was not the role of the pastor any longer to be the pastor-theologian. On doors it read “Office” instead of “Study.” Pastors became execustives and long range visionaries. They became warm fuzzy people whose goal it was to meet the felt needs of people. You¬†would find them reading People magazine to be “in touch” with culture more than they would be reading Augustine to get in touch with theology. What happened?

David Wells of course documents much of the fall of the pastor-theologian in his incredible book, No Place for Truth. In this, and the three follow-ups to that book, Wells historically traced the fall of the pastor-theologian and the Evangelical church at large and offered up helpful ways to bring back a Word centered and Trinitarian ministry.

While we have a long way to go, I am encouraged at seeing something of the rebirth of the pastor-theologian. Seminaries are recognizing that what is needed is not CEO’s or counselors (although aspects of those models are helpful to the pastor) but instead a Word saturated preacher of the Word of God who will shephered and guide his people into knowledge of Christ. Books are being written to encourage a Word centered ministry. Conferences like Together for the Gospel and Shepherds Conference and the Desiring God conference are all being focused on training up a new generation of pastor-theologians. What then is a pastor-theologian? In my mind, this is someone who:

1. Has a deep and profound personal life with God (i.e. through personal study and prayer)

2. Studies the Word intently and seeks to apply it in such a way to his hearers that it transforms.

3. They be students of all areas of knowledge as all truth is God’s truth. They are not simply students of the Word but students of history, music, art, science, sociology, etc.

4. They are compassionate people who are lover’s of men’s souls, both saved and unsaved.

5. Seek to transform the culture they live in through living a transformed life and seeking to transform the lives of those around them.

6. They are normal parts of society. They are not cloistered away from the world but seek to be familiar with politics and other such areas. They have a committed view of the Christian’s role in society.

7. They strive to pursue holiness and serve as a model for others.

8. They mentor the future generation of church leaders. They are not glory hogs but seek to defer to the gifts of others and train up men and women to be leaders in the church. They work to put themselves out of a job.

These are just some of my thoughts on what it takes to be a biblical pastor-theologian. We are living in an age of refocus of priorities. We are seeing men everywhere take seriously their callnig to be a minister of the Gospel and seek to better themselves so they can better those in their charge. They are not some marketer or church growth guru, but they have a commitment to the Word of God and teaching it and preaching it boldly and with great conviction to their people. That is a pastor-theologian. Praise God for their rebirth and pray for the continued growth of men around the world striving to be a godly pastor-theologian.


John Newton on the Pastoral Ministry

December 4, 2007

 

 

I just received the book Beyond Amazing Grace: Timeless pastoral wisdom from the letters, hymns and sermons of John Newton compiled and edited by J. Todd Murphy (Evangelical Press) for review in the Criswell Theological Review. He includes an extended quote from Newton’s work, A Plan for Academic Preparation for the Ministry, which definitely needs to be widely read! The first part is about the nature of one called to the pastorate. The second one is about the qualifications of one who teaches others to be pastors. I quote it exactly as it is found in Beyond Amazing Grace.

 

My first maxim is that none but the one who made the world can make a minister of the gospel. If a young man has capacity, [then] culture and application may make him a scholar, a philosopher, or an orator; but a true minister must have certain principles, motives, feelings, and aims, which no industry or endeavours of men can either acquire or communicate. They must be given from above, or they cannot be received…

 

I adopt, as a second maxim, that the Holy Scriptures are, both comprehensively and exclusively, the grand treasury of all that knowledge which is requisite to make the minister the man of God, thoroughly furnished for every branch of his office…

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For his first essential, indispensable qualification, I require a mind deeply penetrated with a sense of the grace, glory, and efficacy of the gospel. However learned and able in other respects, he shall not have a single pupil from me, unless I have reason to believe that his heart is attached to the person of the Redeemer, as God-man; that, as a sinner, his whole dependence is upon the Redeemer’s work of love, his obedience unto death, his intercession and mediatorial fulness. His sentiments must be clear and explicit respecting the depravity of human nature, and the necessity and reality of the agency of the Holy Spirit, to quicken, enlighten, sanctify, and seal those who, under his influence, are led to Jesus for salvation…

 

I should look for my tutor among those who are called Calvinists; but he must not be of a curious, metaphysical disputations [i.e. argumentative] turn [of mind], a mere system-monger or party-zealot. I seek for one who, having been himself taught the deep things of God by the Holy Spirit, in a gradual experimental manner; while he is charmed with the beautiful harmony and coincidence [i.e interdependence] of all the doctrines of grace, is at the same time aware of the mysterious depths of the divine counsels, and the impossibility of [their] being fully apprehended by our feeble understandings. Such a man will be patient and temperate in explaining the peculiarities [i.e. the distinctive features] of the gospel to his students, and will wisely adapt himself to their several states, attainments, and capacities.

 

 


Personal Discipline – A Concern for Pastors

October 24, 2007

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“Years ago a Glasgow sociologist suggested that the busiest men he knew were pastors and, equally, the laziest people of his acquaintance were also pastors. We all know how easy it is to get slack in essentials. No one is looking over our shoulder and we are never the subjects of a time and motion study!”

 

 James Taylor, Pastors under pressure: Conflicts on the outside, fears within (Leominster, UK: Day One Publications, 2004), p. 53.

 

I highly recommend this book for any in or contemplating going into the pastoral ministry! You can buy it here.


A Word to Pastors from Robert Hall, Jr. (1764-1831)

October 22, 2007

“It is my earnest prayer, my dear brother, that you may feed the Church of the Lord which he has purchased with his own blood; that you may make full proof of your ministry; be instant in season and out of season; teach exhort, and rebuke with all long-suffering and authortiy. Then, should you be spared to your flock, you will witness the fruit of your labours in a spiritual plantation, growing under your hand, adorned with trees of righteousness , the planting of the Lord, that he may be glorified; and while, neglecting worldly considerations, you are intent on the high ends of your calling, inferior satisfactions will not be wanting, but you will meet among the seals of your ministry with fathers and mothers, sisters and brothers. Or should your career be prematurely cut short, you will have lived long enough to answer the purposes of your being, and to leave a record in the consciences of your hearers, which will not suffer you soon to be forgotten. Though dead, you will still speak; you will speak from the tomb; it may be, in accents more powerful and persuasive than your living voice could command.”

Robert Hall, Jr., “On the Discouragements and Supports of the Christian Minister: A Discourse, delivered to the Rev. James Robertson, at his ordination over the Independent Church at Stretton, Warwickshire” in The Works of the Rev. Robert Hall, A.M., 4 vol. (New York: Harper and Brothers, 1854), I:154-155.